This Summer’s VIPs: Vaccinated, Immunized People

This Summer’s VIPs: Vaccinated, Immunized People

May 10, 2021 — Ava Barker of Buena Park, CA, resurrected a long-standing family tradition this year: She hosted a Mother’s Day Eve party. “I started doing this years ago,” she says, but she skipped the last few years as schedules didn’t mesh. Then COVID-19 happened.

This year, the party was on, and Ava’s brother and sister-in-law, along with several other relatives, were set to be there to rekindle the tradition. They planned to kick off Mother’s Day weekend with an adult barbecue, then spend Mother’s Day itself with their children. Barker and her husband were expecting a dozen family members. “Now that everybody is vaccinated, I feel comfortable having everyone come over,”” she said in the days leading up to the party. “It wasn’t that I required everyone to be vaccinated, it’s just that all the guests are.”

If last summer was Lockdown Summer, this year may shape up as the summer that “VIP” stands for vaccinated, immunized person. At events ranging from casual backyard barbecues to more formal parties, concerts, weddings, and other gatherings, vaccination may often be the ticket to admission.

Will this trend of leaving out the unvaccinated lead to a rise in vaccinations and less hesitancy about the vaccine? Maybe, say public health officials and researchers, but they disagree on how much of a difference the exclusions will make.

Don’t Leave Home Without Proof of Vaccination

As vaccination has become more widespread — about 44% of Americans were fully vaccinated as of Sunday — so have the venues and events where organizers require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event, in many cases to satisfy state mandates about reopening.

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, among other Major League venues, offers a vaccinated section, requiring proof of vaccination for adults or a negative COVID test for children 2 to 16 years old.

Wedding planners report that their clients are including the vaccine or negative test requirement on wedding invitations and websites. Sometimes, the request isn’t just from the couple planning to be married. “A lot of locations are asking that guests be vaccinated,” says wedding planner Charley King, who owns Bluebell Events in Los Angeles. Guests send proof of vaccination or their negative tests directly to the venues, she says. “Most people [invited] are so excited to go back to weddings, they say, ‘Oh sure,”” she says.

Concertgoers at The Canyon, a group of clubs in Southern California hosting live music events, like those at other venues, must show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours. The policy is posted prominently on The Canyon’s website, citing state mandates that require it.

Vaccination will also be required of all who attend any of the summer outdoor concerts at the Los Angeles County Arboretum hosted by the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, says Lora Unger, the CEO. When buying a ticket, customers check a box, saying they have been fully vaccinated or will be by the concert date. They then bring verification to the concert.

“The board approved this policy after much consideration and analysis,” Unger says. “The orchestra needs to sit close together. Vaccinations are really necessary to enable our musicians to do their job. Audiences want assurance they are going to vaccinated, safe events that will minimize the possible exposure to COVID because they don’t want to be carriers. We are implementing this policy because our musicians need it and our audiences want it.”

She predicts other venues will soon follow suit for summer performances.

Meanwhile, some hosts of private gatherings are deciding only to hang with people they already know are vaccinated, or to spell out that the event is for vaccinated people only. Shelly Groves, who owns a dog-sitting service in the Atlanta area, is looking forward to toasting a friend’s new house at a gathering set for mid-May. The celebration will include just four women, all vaccinated, who have been good friends for about 5 years. “We’ll have drinks at her new home, then walk to a restaurant and sit outside. Since we have all been vaccinated, we can get together,” Groves says.

In Los Angeles, a teacher recently hosted a backyard garden party for “”fabulous women who are vaccinated,” keeping the group to about a dozen. She knew them all well enough to be confident they wouldn’t lie about their status.

According to CDC guidelines issued April 27

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